Shin Godzilla

  • Title: Shin Godzilla
  • Country of Origin: Japan
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Action
  • Released: July 29, 2016 (Japan)
  • Run time: 120 Minutes
  • Director: Hideaki Anno (Japan) and Shinji Higuchi (Japan)
  • Written: Hideaki Anno (Japan)
  • Starring: Hiroki Hasegawa (Japan), Yutaka Takenouchi (Japan), Satomi Ishihara (Japan)
  • Available in select theatres!
  • Recommendation by Varun Badarinath

This isn’t your typical Godzilla film, which tend to focus on destruction and monsters fighting. This Toho Pictures reboot (the 31st Godzilla film) tends to put the attention on a lower ranking government official who tries jumping through bureaucratic hoops while dealing with the monster. It was closer to The West Wing than a sci-fi film.

It was cool to have some of the original Akira Ifukube score for the soundtrack, which was featured in pervious Godzilla films by Toho.

There were several points of dry satire in terms of government hierarchy and Japanese traditions. Every time a government official talks, their title appears at the bottom of the screen. As the movie goes on and the situation gets worse, these titles get longer and longer, taking up the whole screen. At other times, the officials would dismiss meetings in order to have another meeting, where they would discuss how the first meeting went.

As Godzilla begins attacking the city, government ineptitude is shown as no one can agree who should be the authority: if the monster moves onto land, the Navy won’t do anything. Should the government issue a statement or pretend like nothing has happened, in order to keep credibility. It was quite absurd when actually launching an attack, the military had to call up 6-8 different chains of command to get a simple request, then back down the same 6-8 to execute. This was the case even if 2 or 3 of them were in the same room! No one was willing to jump ranks. It’s up to the low ranked official to take matters into his own hand to solve the problem with his rag-tag group of scientists, officers, and educators.

The view of the American government was humorous as they were only shown as self-interested, power/energy focused, and for flexing their military strength. “There’s a 15% chance Godzilla attacks the U.S. West Coast, so they’ll get involved.” Looking back on this, they aren’t necessarily wrong.

I can safely say that this movie isn’t for casual fans or people looking for lots of action. Honestly, this film might not even be for all Godzilla fans! It is a dialogue heavy piece. Some of the English translation is a bit clunky, but the ideas are conveyed.  The action scenes are great and the camera direction was on point. If you go into this film without the expectations of usual Godzilla films and can keep up with the very fast dialogue, this movie will be enjoyable.

 

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